Delays continue to dog the prosecution of an alleged gaybashing that took place off Commercial Dr in late 2009.
The trial of the youth charged in the case had been set to begin March 29 in youth court at Robson Square.
It has now been delayed until August, defence lawyer Adi Glouberman tells Xtra.
The accused, who can’t be named because he was 17 at the time of the alleged offence, originally pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm on May 20, 2010. But his sentencing was delayed due to “very significant” discrepancies between his version of the incident and those of everyone else who witnessed it.
Then, last fall, the youth fired his lawyer, hired Glouberman, and changed his plea to not guilty, thus triggering a trial.
Glouberman would not say why the case was delayed again this month. “I don’t have instructions to speak to the media,” she says, referring Xtra to the Crown.
Criminal Justice Branch spokesperson Neil MacKenzie says Glouberman was inadvertently double-booked for the recent trial dates and asked for the adjournment.
MacKenzie says the Crown opposed the adjournment, but the court granted it. He confirms trial is now set for Aug 22 to 24.
Little Sister’s manager Janine Fuller has followed a number of recent gaybashing cases and says delays leave people wondering if justice is being served.
“Delay, delay, delay,” Fuller says. “People stop believing the system is in any way, shape or form responding to their needs.”
The situation is not unique to gaybashing prosecutions. Delays in court cases have become a serious concern in BC for a variety of reasons, from backlogs of cases to a lack of judges to people representing themselves due to a lack of legal aid services.
It’s been almost six months since Justice of the Peace Judy Norton called the Commercial Dr case “very, very old.”
The man the youth allegedly attacked needed surgery in 2009 to fix his jaw, which was broken in the attack.
Billy (who gave Xtra only his first name) said he was leaving a house party with friends when a man standing nearby began to harass them. “He pushed my girlfriend on the floor. I went to help her up and he kicked me in the face by my eye,” Billy alleged after the incident. “He called me a ‘fucking faggot,’ ‘you fucking gay,’ ‘you piece of shit,’ ‘you’re worthless’ — just kept on calling me ‘fag, fag, fag.'”